long summer days

9 p.m. looking west at Eryngium agavifolium, asphodels simultaneously with blooms and seedheads, a fun look, Hebe ‘Western Hills’ lower right. The long dusks are a cool respite for the garden, for all of us.
this photo was brightened a bit, but not much

After three years, these long summer days still amaze me. These photos were taken at 9 p.m. last night! On the 4th fireworks were useless until well after 10 p.m. — but that didn’t stop the neighbors. Loud booms are effective day or night. My neighbor reported one small brushfire at the coast that was quickly put out. What price fun, huh? Temps did top 90F Friday, into the low 80sF yesterday, and that’s the end of our portion of this extended heat wave. Nothing compared to the continuing ordeal faced by those living further inland. I’m very grateful for everything this administration has done to engage with carbon emissions, an effort that will always get my vote no matter who is on the ticket. If only minority rule aka the electoral college had not prevented us from getting a jump on heat-trapping gases in 2000…

Digitalis parviflora with Miscanthus ‘Flamingo,’ left, one of the last miscanthus in the back garden. I can easily understand how Miscanthus giganteus is used in biofuel production. Unsure if Digitalis ferruginea will bloom later, the rosettes are still small. Digitalis parviflora seems to be the more reliable of the rusty summer-blooming floxgloves

[Sidebar: On the subject of necessary regulations, I will add one observation to the ongoing discussion of the divergent voting habits of rural vs. urban voters. It’s a personal theory, one of many! Rural industries (“blue collar”) — here it’s farming, fishing, logging — compared to most “white collar” jobs are necessarily carefully regulated in ways that are immediately and personally impactful. For example, when the local small fisherman temporarily can’t clam, crab, or harvest oysters due to high microbial activity, it is an undoubted hardship to bear. Health of consumers is of paramount concern, so oversight agencies don’t mess around. Public health issues can’t be left to the honor system. (And resource management left to vested interests can result in no resources to manage at all. The last sea otter, a keystone species, was killed in Oregon in 1907 out of an estimated population of a million pre-fur trade.) But for small rural towns, and this is an international problem, in addition to an aging population, loss of tax base revenue, “big box” monopolies (on-line and brick-and-mortar), I do think the regulation issue is prime for exploiting and inflaming by outside economic interests that operate at a much larger scale than the small town sole proprietor — hence, the recent unfortunate Supremes decision gutting authority of regulatory agencies, the beginning of the long-sought dismantling of the so-called “administrative state.” Yes, there will always be examples of regulatory overreach to rally indignation, but my vote will always go for prioritizing clean water, air, and safe food. As far as struggling rural towns, my fever dream is the rise of remote work allows these beautiful places to repopulate and emptying urban office buildings become converted to housing,…]

Lots of descriptions of Sanguisorba ‘Red Thunder’ caution to stake if your garden is windy. (Raises hand.). Couple windy afternoons literally knocked this big burnet sideways, so some of the heavier branches were pruned to lighten the weight. Makes amazing cut flowers!

Seguing to slug control (ha!)…this morning I decided to throw down some snail bait pellets. Beer traps were effective primarily if I carried the mollusks to the traps and dropped them in the Guinness bath. (And Marty strenuously objected to use of Guinness as pest control.) The dahlias were “Chelsea-chopped” in early summer, and the slugs and snails also did their part in restricting growth, so buds are now forming on leafless stems. For next year, even though dahlias overwinter in the ground here, I may lift the dahlias and grow them in pots to protect young growth.

mostly, no mollusk control needed

But it is surprising how many plants escape the mollusks’ notice. Dahlias and joe-pye weed have been the primary targets. Annuals like zinnias and cosmos too, but not calendula. I’ve been hesitant to use snail bait, even though the pellets are proclaimed to be “pet and wildlife safe” — I guess it’s a matter of trusting the labeling. Let me know if you’ ve heard otherwise.

Hang in there, cooler days are coming.

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3 Responses to long summer days

  1. Jerry says:

    Waiting for those cooler days! Still awfully hot here inland. I’ve never resorted to slug control. If something is that much of a slug magnet, it doesn’t last long in my garden (here’s looking at you, Dutch iris!). The coast seems to be a climate much more to my liking, cooler, wetter, more temperate and even.
    I’ve not seen that self-regulation is ever very successful. Too often, I see greed take precedence over everything else. Our system is broken. Hoping that things get better, but we will see. Scary times in many ways. Good thing that we have our gardens to help us self-regulate!

  2. Kris P says:

    I love your Eryngiums. I’m hoping my E. planum bloom this summer but, so far, my plants don’t look up to it. Maybe you need to take a raccoon back to OR with you to handle the mollusks – that’s their one superpower.

    The fireworks displays in the area surrounding the Port of LA made it feel as if we were living in a war zone. Even though I understand that all fireworks, other than those used in authorized public displays, are banned by all the communities in our immediate area, there’s no real enforcement mechanism. Luckily, no one in my neighborhood caused a fire (as was the case last year) but pollution was horrible; the noise was continuous; and the behavior probably isn’t reassuring to the insurance companies that are increasingly refusing to cover homeowners because of the high fire risk.

  3. Denise says:

    @Jerry, the heat here was not bad and was a necessary kick in the pants to the garden to go full-on summer. And after a wild couple weeks politically, the recent elections in France are giving me a bit of hope!
    @Kris, I love the eryngos too, and they fit well in a small garden as long as their base is in sun. Everyone agrees the fireworks here were a step up in intensity from last year — but still nothing like Los Angeles.

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